This weekend I was at a social gathering, and within minutes of arriving became involved in a conversation with a woman I’d just met about some of the changes in herself she noticed after becoming a mother.
Ok, yes, I probably did steer our chat in that direction due to my own interests, but thankfully, she went there with me.
It was a brief conversation, given that she was hosting a party. However, I could have stayed there with her for hours. I wanted to know more about who she was before having a child, and who she is now. What did she think mothering would be like, and what was it actually like, for her? How is mothering changing her marriage, impacting her relationship to her work, her body, her spirituality, her friends, and of course, herself?
“I didn’t know I would love it so much,” she told me, eyes widening, still surprised.
I continue to light up around discussing motherhood with other women. Every time I am fortunate to meet another woman interested in talking about the deeper layers, all the unexpected feelings, the subtle nuances of her experience, I feel grateful and inspired. I remember how important it is for me to connect with other mothers around the truths we discover within our experiences.
I appreciate the risks women take today to voice their struggles within mothering: the boredom, the exhaustion, the struggle to make decisions, the utter ridiculousness of mothering at times, did I say the exhaustion? I feel fortunate to be a mother at a time when its ok for me to say that mothering is hard, that my kids challenge me, that the role of being a mother can feel like it is filled with generations of burdens and obligations that I need to unravel myself from.
I appreciate the incredibly refreshing humor I find in mother’s books, blogs, and voices around motherhood that cuts through the “perfect” or “good” mother bullshit that so many of us feel cornered by, and want out of.
But I want even more. I want to know more than how little sleep you got, how little time you have for yourself, or how chaotic your day was. I mean, we can start there, but if we stop at those complaints, nothing will ever change.
And I want change. I want growth and evolution. I want to keep getting unstuck from my own unconscious beliefs and internalized paradigms. I want to keep getting thrown out of who I was and into whoever I am now, even if I don’t recognize her. I want to keep getting schooled around what I think is true, and keep unearthing the truth as it is. Right now.
Because what I want most is the truth.
Believe it or not, we still need to advocate for ourselves, for women, for mothers, for what we need and want individually and as a collective. We are used to just quietly doing the incredibly difficult and important work of raising humans. But no one benefits when mothers are isolated, overwhelmed, and getting more depleted by the moment. No one.
So lets start with getting honest with ourselves and with each other. Lets talk about what really is going on.
I want to know how you were rattled at the core of your being, in the moments, days, months, and years after you held your baby for the first time. I want to know the wise being that birthed your baby, however your baby was birthed, and where that being resides today. I want to know about what fell apart, and what survived, the simultaneous creation and destruction that occurred that day.
Lets go there. Because we can. Because we must.